J.D. Salinger, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

A good character study of a dissafected youth. Holden is kicked out of school and spends a couple of days bumming around in new york before going home to break the news to his parents. Nothing much happens, but the entertainment comes from riding around in Holden’s head for a few days. Holden is an enjoyable narrator, and it is very easy to identify with him, however, he does have his own problems. He is rather judgemental (although in his judgements of others he does not attempt to show himself as superior, he just lists the things about other people which annoy him), a bit of a womanizer, is trapped inside his own head much of the time, and has a tendancy to lie. He does recognize these faults in himself and dislike them, which, when coupled with Holden’s spontaneous wit allows the reader to like him despite the faults.
The colloquial is used in an interesting way. The repetitive use of slang words is a very good portrayal of the way teenagers of a certain age tend to speak, and helps to add a timelessness to an involving and true book. Quite why anyone would want to make a film out of a book the main character of which is interesting to read, but would come across on screen (where we cannot join his thought processes without an interminable voice-over) as whiny and selfish is beyond me, and also appears to be beyond the author and the narrator too (“Goddamn Hollywood”). One that is best left as prose, please.


~ by Snake Oil on August 5, 2009.

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